In many cases people who are entitled to British citizenship through UK nationality law are not on record as being British citizens because previous versions of the UK’s nationality law would have prevented them from inheriting citizenship. In these cases, one must register to become a British Citizen first, before applying for a UK passport. If you submit a passport application without having registered in this situation, your passport application will be refused.
Registering for British Citizenship by Descent
There are two instances when you could be a British citizen through your parent but have to Register before getting your passport due to changes in the law. Your birth date is the deciding factor because, if the law changed after you were born, you likely have to register, but if the law changed before you were born, you do not have to register.
- You were born to a British Mother prior to January 1, 1983: Prior to 1983, UK citizenship only passed through the father. If you were born prior to 1983 and your mother is the British parent, you must register first. Click on the link to learn more.
- You were born to an unmarried British father prior to 2006: If your parents never married, and your British parent is your father, you must register first. Click on the link to learn more.
Registering for Citizenship – Born in the UK
There are other cases in which you must register for citizenship before applying for a passport, when you haven’t inherited citizenship.
The most common case is a child born in the UK to parents who do not have “the right of abode” (i.e. are not “settled”). In this case, children who live in the UK from birth until the age of 10, consecutively, without moving from the UK, can register as UK citizens. Please note: any trip outside of the UK longer than 90 days at a time will make the child ineligible for UK citizenship.